Preparing Students for Success beyond Testing

mkowalskiWith spring right around the corner, our schools are getting ready for annual spring milestones - awards banquets, field trips, graduation and state testing. At Liberty-Benton, test preparation and life skills go hand-in-hand throughout the school year and culminate in the spring with state-required testing. 

Although it is critical that we help our students master the skills they need to be the best test-takers they can be - knowledge comprehension, problem solving as well as time and stress management - these skills also help them prepare for and approach life outside of the classroom. 

One of our principle goals here at Liberty-Benton is to provide instruction, accommodation and guidance to challenge all of our learners while also empowering them to master key skills and knowledge. For example, at the elementary and middle school level, reading is a primary focus in the classroom for both skill development and testing. Students who need extra assistance receive support through Title I services, LLI reading instruction and intervention. In high school, where state testing is crucial to graduation, our counselor works closely with all students and parents to plan for students’ individualized needs and goals.  

We also support innovative and creative learning approaches that contribute to students’ success both inside and outside the classroom. One approach used throughout our schools is blended learning. By combining traditional and innovative learning tools - such as interactive videos such as EDPuzzle and WeVideo; challenge feedback tools such as Kahoot, Gimkit and Quizlet; and digital breakout activities such as Breakout EDU and Hyperlinks - all of our learners gain a more thorough understanding of all of the resources available to them. 

A critical component to the success of this model is focus on the teachers. By enhancing and advancing the knowledge and skills of our teachers, we are better equipped to help each learner succeed in today’s classroom. This school year, our teachers participated in professional development training to increase the focus on individualized instruction in their classrooms. By providing opportunities for students to self-assess and by teaching students how to give and receive meaningful feedback, we are instilling skills and knowledge that are important in the classroom, yes, but might be considered even more important in life outside of the classroom. 
 
All of these efforts are designed to ensure that each student at Liberty-Benton succeeds, not only in the classroom and on state tests, but also in their lives - today and tomorrow.
 
Mark Kowalski
Superintendent

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